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Arguments of Hugh M. Dorsey in the Leo Frank Murder Trial

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Arguments of Hugh M. Dorsey in the Leo Frank Murder Trial


The Epic Closing Arguments of Hugh M. Dorsey, August 22, 23 and 25, 1913.

Leo Frank murder trial closing arguments by Hugh Manson Dorsey are published under the title, ARGUMENT OF HUGH M. DORSEY, Solicitor-General, Atlanta Judicial Circuit, AT THE TRIAL OF LEO M. FRANK, Charged with the murder of Mary Phagan. This fascinating 146 page book was produced by Nicholas Christophulos, published at 411 Third Street, Macon, Georgia (GA) in 1914, through the Press of THE JOHNSON-DALLIS Co., Atlanta, Georgia.

Introduction Forward, Facts of the Crime, Chronological History of the case written by Nicholas Christophulos, Macon, Georgia (GA), April 20th, 1914. Republished in this book just before the arguments by Hugh M. Dorsey begin, is part of an article by Sidney Ormond published originally by Atlanta Constitution, August 27th 1913.

Final Closing Arguments at the Trial of Leo Frank August 22, 23, and 25, 1913

The crescendo and exultation of the Leo M. Frank trial (July 28 to August 21, 1913) -- before the Jury was polled on August 25, 1913 at 3:56 pm -- was delivered in this brilliant presentation, immortalized as the Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey Solicitor General, Atlanta Judicial Circuit at the 1913 Trial of Leo M. Frank.

Abridged Closing Argument of Hugh Dorsey

This abridged final argument of Hugh M. Dorsey at the Trial of Leo M. Frank, containing the text of some, but not all, of the more than nine hours of closing arguments prosecutor Dorsey made in the Fulton County Superior Courtroom on August 22, 23, and 25, 1913 is a masterpiece. This 146 page book, was published in 1914 and is drawn from the original Leo M. Frank murder trial transcript, which was produced by stenographers during the month long trial. This book is extremely rare, less than 2 dozen copies are known, only 18 libraries in the United States have original copies and the other few remaining known examples are in private exclusive collections. Some have claimed there has been a century long effort to make these rare specimens disappear from every Library in the United States of America, because so many have been stolen, but not resold on the blackmarket. Fortunately a digital version of this book has finally been made available online at several Internet libraries and archives, so that it will not be lost forever due to the nefarious efforts to make this book vanish from existence. It is for this reason of deliberate censorship, why you should read this book to learn why there are efforts to suppress it.

The Leo Frank Trial Transcript

Alas, the original 7 volume Leo M. Frank murder trial transcript stenographed on 3,647 pages of cap paper (Bass Rosser, 1914) was stolen from the Georgia State Archives around the early 1960's (Archivist Smith, 2011) and is still missing today, presumed gone forever after 50 years. However, of great historical importance, the abridged version of Leo Frank Murder Trial testimony is recorded in the 1913 Leo Frank Murder Trial Brief of Evidence, which still exists today and captures the answers, but not the questions given during the 29 day trial and this official legal document contain hundreds of pages of testimony, affidavits, facts and evidence available online at the Internet archive.

Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913

The Leo Frank Murder Trial Brief of Evidence was ratified by both the Leo Frank Legal Defense Team and the Prosecution Team led by Hugh M. Dorsey. It is the most important document of all the records in the Leo M. Frank case and should be read by everyone interested in the case.

A Brief Chronology:

Mary Phagan is murdered just after noon on Confederate Memorial Day, Saturday, April 26th 1913 and her body is found by the night watch (night witch) Newt Lee in the early hours of Sunday, April 27th 1913 at 3:17 O'clock in the morning. After police and detectives arrest several people and question dozens more, Leo Frank became the prime suspect and was arrested on Tuesday, April 29th 1913 at 11:30 AM, it would be the last day of Leo Frank's freedom until his lynching on August 17, 1915.

Major Events: The Coroner's Inquest, April 30, 1913 to May 8, 1913

Over 150 people were subpoenaed and then sworn under oath to be questioned at the Coroners Inquest, resulting in Coroner Paul V. Donehoo and his sworn jury of 6 men making a unanimous recommendation (7 to 0) that Leo M. Frank be bound over for murder and held accountable before the grandjury to review the facts and evidence in the case.

Fulton County Grand Jury Indictment Against Leo Frank

More than a dozen police, detectives, and NPCo employees testified during the Fulton County grandjury investigation. Monteen Stover told the Jury that when she went to collect her pay envelope on Saturday, April 26, 1913 from Leo Frank at the National Pencil Company, he was not in his office during the five minute designated time between 12:05 p.m., and 12:10 p.m.

After deliberating the facts, evidence and testimony, Leo M. Frank was indicted unanimously by a Grand Jury of 21 men (including 4 Jewish members) on Saturday, May 24th 1913. The unanimous vote of 7 to 0 by the Coroners Inquest and Jury, plus the unanimous vote of the Grand Jury of 21 to 0, put Leo Frank at a distinct disadvantage with a total of 28 to 0 against him going into his capital murder trial.

A Trial of the Century

Leo Frank is prosecuted during a 29 day trial beginning on Monday, July 28th 1913 and successfully convicted by a petite Jury of 12 men on Monday, August 25th 1913 (unanimously 13 to 0 including Judge Roan on Tuesday, August 26, 1913), as a result of well thought out, reasoned and logical arguments presented by the Hugh M. Dorsey legal team, a culmination, based on the trial testimony, facts and evidence. The 13 to 0 vote, when added to the 21 to 0 vote of the Grand Jury and 7 to 0 vote of the Coroners Inquest Jury resulted in a 41 to 0 vote against Leo Frank.

Leo Frank appealed the case to the Georgia Supreme Court who ruled the evidence sustained a guilty verdict. Judge Benjamin Hill of the Fulton County Superior Court was so convinced of Leo Frank's guilt after reviewing the Brief of Evidence, that on March 7, 1914, he sentence Leo Frank to be hanged on his 30th Birthday, April 17, 1914!


Leo Frank would aggressively pursue two more years of appeals failing each and every time up and down the entire United States Legal System, from the Georgia Superior Court, Georgia Supreme Court, Federal District Courts to the United States of America to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, TWICE! It was Hugh Dorsey that fought against Leo Frank each and every-time and won!

Read and study the best primary and secondary sources

The most reliable primary and secondary sources about Mary Phagan's murder, Leo Frank's trial, appeals and aftermath.

1. The Murder of Little Mary Phagan by Mary Phagan Kean (b. June 5, 1954) was written by the namesake and grandniece of Mary Phagan (1899 - 1913) -- the little girl who was murdered on Georgia Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, 1913. Phagan-Kean produces a rare neutral account of the Mary Phagan murder investigation, coroner's inquest, grandjury indictment, and trial of Leo Frank, including the appeals (1913-1915) and aftermath of the case (1982-1986), that is engaging and well worth reading. Phagan-Kean's book is a very refreshing change from the endless number of contemporary books written by Leo Frank activists over the generations who quote and plagiarize other Leo Frank activists' academic dishonesty and falsified research, to create an artificial consensus of history that Leo Frank was innocent. For more than one hundred years Leo Frank activists have relied upon using fallacious evidence and fabrication about the Leo Frank case to racistly transform the 1913 affair into an anti-Gentile ethno-religious conspiracy.

2. American State Trials, volume X (1918) by John Davison Lawson LLD (Available here on the review tends to favor Leo Frank and his legal defense team, because the document provides an abridged version of the trial testimony, redacting and leaving out some very important details damaging to Leo Frank.

Be sure to read the abridged closing arguments of Hugh Dorsey, Frank Arthur Hooper, Luther Rosser and Reuben Rose Arnold. A chronology of Leo Frank's appeals is also included. The last segment provides a detailed account of Leo Frank's lynching.

For a much clearer picture of the trial testimony, read the elusive Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence (BOE, 1913) for the official version of the trial testimony. Compare the American State Trials Volume X 1918 version of the BOE with the official record of the Leo Frank trial brief of evidence (1913) to see what was left out (the juiciest stuff) from the American State Trials Volume X, 1918.

3. Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey in the Trial of Leo Frank (Available here on Some but not all of the 9 hours of arguments given to the jury at the end of the Leo Frank trial on August 22nd, 23rd, and 25th of 1913 (the 24th was Sunday). Very few libraries in the United States have original copies of this books. There has been an effort over the last 100 years to steal and destroy the remaining copies so as to suppress Hugh Dorsey's closing arguments and peroration.

This excellent book is required reading to see how the prosecutor Hugh Dorsey in sales vernacular: "closed", a Jury panel of 13 men, made up of a judge with a reputation for conscientiousness, along with a jury of 12 men.

On appeals Leo Frank's defense team submitted a petition to judge Roan on 107 grounds for why Leo Frank should get a new trial -- every single ground was rejected with an explanation on October 31, 1913. Judge Roans rejection of each and every one of the 107 grounds put before him, causes most 20th and 21st century neutral observers to realize the judge's appeasing oral remarks to his former law-partner Luther Rosser about questions of Leo Frank's "innocence or guilt" were nothing more of a business courtesy, than an expression of doubt.

At a later time after state appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court failed, Superior Court Judge Benjamin Hill on March 7th, 1914, scheduled Leo Frank to hang on his 30th birthday April 17, 1914, revealing the ultimate truth and strength of his verdict.

4. Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term 1913, Brief of Evidence. Extremely rare, only 3 original copies exist, and they are held at the Georgia State Archive (The unabridged version is available on the version in American State Trials Volume X, 1918 is abridged).

Three Major Atlanta Dailies: The Atlanta Constitution, The Atlanta Journal, The Atlanta Georgian (Hearst's Tabloid Yellow Journalism), The most relevant issues center around April 28th to August 27th 1913.

5. Atlanta Constitution Newspaper: The Murder of Mary Phagan, Coroner's Inquest, Grand Jury, Investigation, Trail, Appeals, Shanking and Lynching of Leo Frank Case in the Atlanta Constitution Newspaper from 1913 to 1915.

6. The Atlanta Georgian newspaper: This selection is covering the Leo Frank Case from April though August, 1913.

7. The Atlanta Journal Newspaper, April, 28, 1913, through till the end of August, 1913, pertaining to the Leo Frank Case:

Leo Frank confirms in a jailhouse interview that he might have been in the men's toilet in the metal room (shockingly the prosecution's theory where the murder occurred) at the time Monteen Stover said his office was empty between 12:05 p.m. and 12:10 p.m.
Link: Atlanta Constitution, Monday, March 9, 1914, Leo Frank Jailhouse Interview

8. Tom Watson's Jeffersonian and Watson's Magazine: Watson's Magazine, January 1915, Watson's Magazine, March 1915; Watson's Magazine, August 1915, Watson's Magazine, September 1915, and Watson's Magazine, October of 1915. (Available here on Tom Watson's best work on the Leo M. Frank case was published in August and September of 1915. Watson's five works written collectively on the Leo M. Frank topic, provide logical arguments confirming the guilt of Leo M. Frank with superb reasoning. Originals of these magazines are extremely rare and very difficult to find.

1. The Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (January 1915) Watson's Magazine Volume 20 No. 3. See page 139 for the Leo Frank Case. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga.

2. The Full Review of the Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (March 1915) Volume 20. No. 5. See page 235 for 'A Full Review of the Leo Frank Case'. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga..

3. The Celebrated Case of The State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank By Tom Watson (August 1915) Volumne 21, No 4. See page 182 for 'The Celebrated Case of the State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank". Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga..

4. The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert By Tom Watson (September 1915) Volume 21. No. 5. See page 251 for 'The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert'. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga..

5. The Rich Jews Indict a State! The Whole South Traduced in the Matter of Leo Frank By Tom Watson (October 1915) Volume 21. No. 6. See page 301. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga..

Tom Watson's Jeffersonian Newspaper

9. The Tom E. Watson Digital Papers Archive, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

Tom W. Brown

10. Notes on the Case of Leo M. Frank, By Tom W. Brown, Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1982. (despite its errors - like mentioning Mary Phagan had bitemarks on her - it is otherwise a great analysis).

Leo Frank Georgia Supreme Court Records (1913, 1914):

11. Leo Frank Georgia Supreme Court Records (1,800 pages).

Publisher JOHNSON-DALLIS Co., Atlanta, Georgia.
Year 1913
Language English
Collection opensource
Notes original scanned


Reviewer: Macro Man - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 4, 2012
Subject: remarkable closing arguments
Only fools and scoundrels think Leo Frank is innocent.
Reviewer: threnos - favorite - May 31, 2012
Subject: Did Dorsey Make a Mistake?
I was going to leave a review yesterday about how smart Dorsey was and this is what condemns him even more in my mind for having willingly and enthusiastically sent a man he had to have known was innocent to jail but I'm not so sure that he was smart.

I just finished reading something he said essentially defending beastiality over sodomy... Whatever way you look at it beastiality is rape. There is no way an animal can give consent.

However I still believe that Dorsey knew Frank was innocent and Conley was guilty. He had to have known that his whole argument that Conley would have written "done" in the notes and not "did" was contradicted in Conley's own testimony. He knew there was not positive proof that the hair on the lathe was Mary's, that Harris said it may not be. Yet he tried to hit this home to the jury knowing it could be false. He also had to have known that the "make water" reference could have easily have meant the washroom not on the 2nd floor but the black one in the basement.

He didn't care to examine the many contradictions in Conley's tale, to strip them away to find the real truth. The "law" seemed only interested in pointing out to the man where the errors were so he had the opportunity to fix them to further implicate Frank. It didn't matter that often Conley's "fixing" made things more convoluted. As long as Frank was sentenced that was all that counted to Dorsey, Black and the others.

Dorsey did not care about the truth. Dorsey cared about convicting Frank and being "right" in the eyes of the population even if he knew he was wrong, which he was. He'd put too much effort in showing that Frank was guilty to let anything stop him even the truth.

Leo Frank was innocent. All the fancy well made speeches can't change that just as the lynching of Leo Frank was as much an admittance of defeat as anything else. Slaton commuted Frank's sentence. That cannot be changed by one unlawful action. Dorsey and all those who rejoiced at Leo Frank's death not only lost the case in the end but lost a piece of their humanity and soul as well.

For all the BS going around about Frank's alleged "confessions" I found something very strange in this article. Why does Dorsey quote the murder note as saying "That negro fireman down here did this" and not "That negro hire down here did this" which is what it really said? It was only after the trial that Frank's side discovered that the tall man referenced in the notes and who was meant to be incriminated was probably the fireman William Nolle, who was very different in appearance from James Conley. This was against Dorsey and Conley's claim that Frank was trying to frame Newt Lee. However, did Hugh M. Dorsey know all along who Conley was really trying to frame and did he accidentally let slip this knowledge?
Reviewer: sarahcohen - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 17, 2011
Subject: powerful and long winded
a must read. the argument of hugh m. dorsey in the leo frank trial was considered one of the most remarkable closing arguments ever delivered at the time (1913). i must agree. be sure to also read the 1913 closing arguments of frank arthur hooper in american state trials V. 10 published in 1918.
Reviewer: L-H - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 25, 2011
Subject: Not racist at all
How comes that people still believe Leo frank is innocent? At some stage even his wife hadn't believed him anymore or how else will one try to explain why she didnt came to see her husband in court? . Read this book carefully and the only conclusion you can come to is that Leo Frank was the murderer. Even though four of his own people were sitting in the jury he was still found guilty. How much more proof do people need to understand that the Leo Frank case wasn't racist at all?
Reviewer: manhattansunrise - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 6, 2010
Subject: Tight and Narrow Navigation
Dorsey's arguments are superb and dynamite, even at times reaching heights of genius. Dorsey creates a tight and narrow lane making it effortless for the Jury, which has now become the 3rd Jury to decide and rule against Frank. Frank is arrested 2 days after the murder and put first before the Coroners Jury unanimously vote against Frank, followed by the Grand Jury unanimously voting 21 to 0 to indict Leo Frank, and then next the Petite Jury of 12 Men and a Judge, vote 13 to 0 against Frank. Then there would be 2 more years of frivolous poorly thought out and even cheesy appeals by Leo M. Frank from 1913 to 1915. So then there would be over a dozen judges voting against Frank.
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